The Institute of Mental Health recently conducted the “2022 Health and Lifestyle Survey”. This involved 6,509 randomly selected Singapore residents (i.e. Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) aged 15 to 65 years, and included questions on consumption of illicit drugs.
2. CNB has looked at the aggregated findings.
3. Based on the survey findings, it is estimated that about 0.7% of Singapore residents had consumed an illicit drug at least once in the last 12 months.
Strict laws and awareness of harms are top reasons for staying away from drugs
4. Legal consequences (74.4%), chances of being arrested (65.4%), and awareness of adverse effects on health (65.4%) were the top reasons cited for staying away from illicit drugs.
Majority view illicit drugs to be very harmful
5. 82.1% perceived consumption of illicit drugs to be very harmful. Regardless of drug type and frequency of drug consumption, the majority were of the view that illicit drug consumption poses great risk of harms.
Illicit drug consumption starts young, with cannabis
6. The mean age of onset of illicit drug consumption was 15.9 years old. 41.8% of those who had consumed drugs said they had started drug consumption before the age of 18 years old (see Chart 1). Cannabis (45.9%), ‘ecstasy’ (21.2%), and methamphetamine (18.5%) were cited the most frequently as drugs consumed. The majority also cited cannabis as the first illicit drug they had consumed (51.9%), followed by ‘ecstasy’ (18.6%), and heroin (3.2%).
Residences and overseas are common locations for illicit drug consumption
7. The most commonly cited location for consuming drugs was residences, with the majority citing that they had consumed drugs at home (30.1%) or at a friend’s home (19.1%). The third most common location reported was overseas (9.5%).
Curiosity and peer influence among top reasons for consuming drugs
8. Curiosity (21.6%) was the most commonly cited reason for consuming drugs. This was followed by the belief that drugs will help with their problems (19.7%), and being influenced by friends (11.9%).
Individuals who had consumed drugs have higher prevalence of mental disorders
9. Prevalence of mental disorders were generally higher among those who had consumed drugs. Such disorders include clinical depression, clinical insomnia, self-reported depression or major depressive disorder, self-reported bipolar disorder, and self-reported anxiety disorder.
10. We will continue to work closely with partners and community stakeholders to fight the scourge of drugs, through preventive education, tough laws and effective enforcement. A summary of the survey’s key findings is at ANNEX.
CENTRAL NARCOTICS BUREAU
3 May 2023
2022 Health and Lifestyle Survey Findings on Illicit Drug Consumption
The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) conducted the “2022 Health and Lifestyle Survey” from April 2021 to July 2022, which among others, examined the prevalence of illicit drug consumption by Singapore residents (i.e. Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents).
A disproportionate stratified sampling method was used to select a total of 6,509 Singapore residents aged 15 to 65 years to take part in the survey. They were representative of Singapore’s resident population by age, race, gender, and citizenship status.
The survey was self-administered by respondents. Respondents were either provided with a tablet to complete the survey or a link to an online survey.